ARSENE WENGER fears Brexit could sound the death knell for the Premier League as the greatest global sports brand.
Restrictions on trade and economic damage could stop the top, top players from coming to England – and in turn make sure the best foreign coaches go elsewhere.
The ex-Arsenal boss, 70, worries that English football could return to the 1980s, with grounds less than half full and little money in the game.
Today, the Premier League is the biggest football brand in the world, with foreign billionaires owning the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City.
Frenchman Wenger, who managed the Gunners for 22 years but now works for Fifa, reckons that Brexit is his biggest fear for the impact it will have on English football, with potentially Spain, Italy and Germany all overtaking the Premier League commercially and economically.
The UK Government is due to leave the European Union at the end of 2021.
Wenger, who still lives in London, told the Mirror: “Certainly, subconsciously maybe for some people, it was to regain some sovereignty of their own destiny. And football is completely the reverse.
“When I arrived, English football belonged to English people. Today, the English Premier League belongs to foreign people.
“How will that change? That will depend now on how Brexit will be applied to football.
“Will people inside Europe be considered as foreign players who cannot play in the English Premier League? I don’t know.
“But if the rules are restrictive, they will kill the superiority of the Premier League.
“Because today the Premier League depends on worldwide exposure, with the best players and worldwide ownership with multi-billion owners from around the world.”
Wenger saw the impact when English teams were banned from European competition for hooliganism in the late 1980s, and says it took some time before they were able to regularly dominate again, as they had done in the late 1970s and early to mid-1980s.
He said: “When England was suspended from Europe, when they came back, they were far behind.
“But before they were excluded, they were dominating it.
“So that shows you, that if you have no different influences, you drop slowly back.”
Wenger fears foreign coaches like Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp would not come to England if the best players were playing elsewhere.
He added: “They will want to go where the best players are. So overall, that will depend on the decisions made.
“But I believe you’re intelligent enough in England and love football enough not to destroy what is basically a diamond today.”
By: Alan Scott
Title: Wenger warns Brexit could ‘kill superiority’ of Premier League as legendary Arsenal boss says ‘nobody knows’ next steps
Sourced From: www.thesun.co.uk/sport/football/premierleague/11859422/wenger-warns-brexit-kill-premier-league/
Published Date: Sun, 14 Jun 2020 09:51:32 +0000